Criteria of True Prophet

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The Quran

Criteria of True Prophet are tests set out by the Quran as to how a true prophet could be differentiated from a false one.[1][2] A Muslim has been enjoined to settle all disputes in the light of the Word of God (i.e. The Quran). "And those who disbelieve say, 'Thou art not a Messenger.' Say, Sufficient is Allah as a Witness between me and you and so also is he who possesses knowledge of the Book."[3] and “ …Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers.[4] To know the truth of a claimant to Divine Appointment, the case must be referred to the Quran and its Criteria. In fact the Quran has made a prophecy that a time would come when Muslims will renounce the Quran as a judge and follow books, (e.g books of narrations and Exegeses old scholars etc.) “And the Messenger will say, 'O my Lord, my people indeed treated this Qur'án as a thing to be discarded'.” [5]

Emphasis on the use of reason and intellect[edit]

The Quran, has emphasized the use of reason and intellect. “Already have We urged unto hell many of the jinn and humankind, having hearts wherewith they understand not, and having eyes wherewith they see not, and having ears wherewith they hear not. These are as the cattle - nay, but they are worse! These are the neglectful.” (7:179) [6] The Quran declares that Jesus son of Mary has passed away like all mortal Messengers of God. At least 30 different verses of the Quran have been cited to prove this point.[7][8]

Two kinds of Prophets[edit]

The Quran says there are two kinds of Prophets.[9] The Law Giver prophets and the Subordinate Prophets. “Surely, We sent down the Torah wherein was guidance and light. By it did the Prophets, who were obedient to Us, judge for the Jews, as did the godly people and those learned in the Law, because they were required to preserve the Book of Allah, and because they were guardians over it" [10] Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was the Last Prophet to give mankind the Last Law (Shariah) as per "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the seal of the Prophets and Allah has full knowledge of all things." [11] and "...This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion." [12] However, many renowned scholars have believed that these verses do not preclude the Second Coming of Jesus son of Mary in the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad. Because he shall appear Only as Subordinate to the Prophet Muhammad and follow his Law.The renowned scholar Jalalud Din Sayuti, in his Tafseer Jalalyn of the verse 33:40, writes:"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you: he is not Zayd’s biological father and so it is not unlawful for him to marry his [former] wife Zaynab [after him]; but, he is, the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets, and so he will not have a son that is a [fully grown] man to be a prophet after him (a variant reading [for khātim al-nabiyyīna] has khātam al-nabiyyīn, as in the instrument [known as a] ‘seal’, in other words, their [prophethood] has been sealed by him). And God has knowledge of all things, among these is the fact that there will be no prophet after him, and even when the lord Jesus descends [at the end of days] he will rule according to his [Muhammad’s] Law"[13] Besides the authors of Tafsir al-Jalalayn many renowned scholars of the past have interpreted the concept of the Finality in the same sense.[14]

Second Coming of Jesus - a Metaphor[edit]

In view of the Islamic belief that Jesus son of Mary has died like all mortal beings, the Second Coming is supposed to be a metaphor. The Ahmadiyya believe that the prophecy pertained to the appearance of prophet in the power and spirit of Jesus son of Mary.[15][16]

Messengers continue to appear[edit]

Messengers from Allah will continue to appear as a ‘Sunnah’ of Allah. The Quran says, “O children of Adam, If Messengers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs unto you, then whoso shall fear Allah and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve"[17] and “And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings -- the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. And an excellent company are they".[18] The Quran teaches that a believer is gifted with all four of these spiritual bounties, i.e. Prophethood, Siddiq (the Truthful), the Shahid (the Witness), Saliheen (the Righteous).[19]

Divine Converse a Continuous Phenomenon[edit]

The Quran teaches that Divine Converse is a continuous and established “practice of God” (sunnah of Allah). He has always been speaking to human beings in various ways. The Quran says:

“And in no way is it feasible for a mortal that Allah should speak to Him, except by revelation or from beyond a curtain, or that He should send a Messenger; then He reveals whatever He decides, by His permission. Surely He is Ever-Exalted, Ever-Wise.” [20]

The verse covers the phenomena of verbal revelations, visions and dreams, which is the psychological basis of Religious Experiences. It is the quality, intensity and perfection of such a Divine Converse, which differentiates ordinary believers from the Messengers of God. Prophethood is an exalted state of the very same Divine Converse which other believers are often gifted with.[21]

Belief of Cessation of Prophethood very ancient[edit]

The belief in the “Cessation“ of Prophethood, is not new. Even in the days of Joseph, the Quran tells us, people held this belief that “No prophet shall appear herein after” The Quran says:

"And Joseph, indeed, came to you before with clear proofs, but you ceased not to be in doubt concerning that which he came to you till, when he died, you said,'Allah will never raise a Messenger after him.' Thus does Allah adjudge as having gone astray every transgressor, doubter. " (The Quran 40: 34)and "And, indeed, they thought, even as you think that Allah would never raise any Messenger" (The Quran 72:7) [22]

Some Muslim preach the same belief as quoted by the Quran since the days of Joseph.[23]

The Covenant from All Prophets[edit]

The Covenant from Prophets (Meethaq-un-Nabiyyeen) and their followers to believe and help all future Messengers of God. The Quran, says "And remember the time when Allah took a covenant from the people through the Prophets, saying 'Whatever I give you of the Book and Wisdom and then there comes to you a Messenger, fulfilling that which is with you, you shall believe in him and help him.' And He said, 'Do you agree, and do you accept the responsibility which I lay upon you in this matter?' They said 'We agree.' He said 'Then bear witness and I am with you among the witnesses.'" [24] At another place, the Quran clearly says such a Covenant is taken from the Prophet Muhammad as well. It say, " And call to mind when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from thee, and from Noah and Abraham, and Moses and Jesus, son of Mary, and We indeed, took from them a solemn Covenant ".[25][26]

Tidings of a Messenger by the Quran[edit]

The Quran, speaks of the advent of fresh messengers from God. It mentions the appearance of a Witness from God, to testify to the truth of Prophet Muhammad and Islam.

"Can he, then, who stands upon a clear proof from his Lord, and to testify to whose truth a witness from Him shall follow him, and who was preceded by the Book of Moses, a guide and a mercy, be an impostor? Those who are the true followers of Moses believe therein, and whoever of the opposing parties disbelieve in it, the Fire shall be his promised place. So be not thou, O reader, in doubt about it. Surely, it is the truth from thy Lord; but most men believe not".[27]

AHMAD shall appear[edit]

Quoting verse 61:6, the Ahmadiyya believe that, the verse mentions the Founder of Islam Muhammad and at the same time his appearance as foretold in the Quran 62:3-4 (in the later days). This is, they believe, the prophecy about the Second Coming. They believe the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement appeared in the power and spirit of Jesus son of Mary as Ahmad.[28] But in Islam Ahmad is another name of prophet Muhammed.[29]

"And call to mind when Jesus, son of Mary, said, 'O children of Israel, surely, I am Allah's Messenger unto you, fulfilling that which is before me of the prophecies of the Torah, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad. And when he came to them with clear proofs, they said, this is manifest sorcery.'" [30]

"Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) enumerated a number of his names when he said: “I have many names: I am Muhammad. I am Ahmad. I am al-Mâhî (the Obliterator) by whom Allah obliterates disbelief. I am al-Hâshir (the Gatherer) who gathers the people at my feet. I am al-`Aqib (the Successor) whom none comes after.”Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim [31]

Sura Jumma 62:3-4[edit]

The Quran 62:3-4 also very clearly speaks of the advent of a messenger in the later days. "And He will raise him among others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise. That is Allah's grace; He bestows it on whom He pleases; and Allah is the Lord of immense grace".[32] The interpretation of verses 62:3-4 by Prophet Muhammad as recorded is as follows: "Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were sitting with the Prophet Surah Al Jumu’ah was revealed to him, and when the Verse, ‘And He (Allah) has sent him (Muhammad) also to other (Muslims)…’ (62.3) was recited by the Prophet, I said, ‘Who are they, O Allah’s Apostle?’ The Prophet did not reply till I repeated my question thrice. At that time, Salman Al-Farisi was with us. So Allah’s Apostle put his hand on Salman, saying, ‘If Faith were at (the place of) Ath-Thuraiya (Pleiades, the highest star), even then some men or a man from these people (i.e. Salman’s folk) would attain it.’ "[33]

Quran's Criteria of true Prophethood[edit]

The Quran defines clear Criteria to test the veracity of a claimant to Divine Appointment. These are Proofs of the Quran advanced to prove the truth of a Prophet or Messenger from God.

An unblemished Pure Life[edit]

The Quran says, "Say, 'If Allah had so willed, I should not have recited it to you, nor would I have made it known to you. I have indeed lived a whole lifetime before this. Will you not then understand?'.[34] The Personal Life of the Claimant, has been cited as evidence of his truth. A person who has lived a flawless, unblemished life of piety and purity is a proof that he is not a liar.

Revelation of the Unseen[edit]

"He is the Knower of the unseen; and He reveals not His secrets to anyone, Except to a Messenger of His whom He chooses. And then He causes an escort of guarding angels to go before him and behind him." [35]

The Quran claims that only God is the Knower of the Hidden and the Unseen. So one who has been sent (Apostle/Messenger), is granted Knowledge of the Hidden and the Unseen to prove his being from God. This is the basis of Prophet-hood (Literally the one who makes prophecies). So it is through such knowledge of the Unseen that a true claimant proves his claim.

God destroys a False Claimant[edit]

Both in the Islamic religion and the Biblical teachings, it is argued that a person who falsely attributes a revelation to God, is tantamount to creating a great disorder and God never lets such a one to succeed or prosper.[36] It is argued that very soon such a claimant is destroyed through the wrath of God. The Quran and Biblical injunction are almost the same on this issue.

It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.And if he had forged and attributed any sayings to Us, We would, surely, have seized him by the right hand, And then, surely, We would have cut his life-vein, And not one of you could have held Our punishment off from him.[37]

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die".[38]

He will Prevail[edit]

One of the Signs of a true Messenger, which the Quran presents, is that if he is from God, none would be able to frustrate his designs and he will ultimately prevail. The Quran says: "Allah has decreed: 'Most surely, I will prevail, I and My Messengers.' Verily, Allah is Powerful, Mighty.[39]

Divine Succour[edit]

A true Prophet or Messenger of God is the recipient of full Divine support and succour. The Quran guarantees: "And, surely, Our word has gone forth to Our servants, the Messengers, That it is, certainly, they who will be helped; And that it is Our host that will, certainly, be victorious".[40]


  1. ^ Sultan ul Quran (Urdu) by Ansar Raza The Ahmadiyya Missionary at Canada has written a treatise on the subject. The proofs from the Quran have been summarised in it. The article is based on Ansar Raza's treatise.
  2. ^ The Criteria of True Prophet, Ansar Raza (English)
  3. ^ The Quran 13:43 Abul Ala Maudoodi in his Tafseer Tafheem ul Quran refers to it. [1]
  4. ^ The Quran,5:45
  5. ^ The Quran, 25:30 Hajr / Mahjoor has a sense that they have discarded the Qura. (Tafheem ul Quran, under verse 25:30 note - 41. [2]
  6. ^ The Quran 7:179 "They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not. meaning, they do not benefit from these senses that Allah made for them as a means of gaining guidance. Similarly, Allah said, وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ سَمْعاً وَأَبْصَـراً وَأَفْئِدَةً فَمَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَلاَ أَبْصَـرُهُمْ وَلاَ أَفْئِدَتُهُمْ مِّن شَىْءٍ إِذْ كَانُواْ يَجْحَدُونَ بِـَايَـتِ اللَّهِ And We had assigned them the (faculties of) hearing, seeing, and hearts; but their hearing, seeing, and their hearts availed them nothing since they used to deny the Ayat. (46:26)" Tafseer Ibn Kathir. [3]
  7. ^ Death of Prophet Jesus, 30 verses of the Quran
  8. ^ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has described the death of Jesus son of Mary from 30 verses of the Quran in his book "Izala-e-Auhaam" page 264. [4]
  9. ^ The well known scholar Imam Raghib Isphahani states: "Prophethood is of two kinds, general and special. The special prophethood, viz: the law-bearing prophethood is now unattainable; but the general prophethood continues to be attainable." ( Bahr al Muheet, vol. 3, p. 28)
  10. ^ The Quran 5:44
  11. ^ The Quran, 33:40
  12. ^ The Quran, 5:3
  13. ^ Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, Verse 33.40
  14. ^ Khataman Nabiyyeen - Interpretations by Eminent Learned Scholars of Islam [5]
  15. ^ Jesus a Humble Prophet of God
  16. ^ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his book "Izala-e-Auhaam" 1891, has explained the issue of the Second Coming as a metaphor. [6]
  17. ^ The Quran 7:35
  18. ^ The Quran, 4:69 " وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم ... 69. All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah, ... مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ ... of the Prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the righteous (who do good): ... وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا ﴿٦٩﴾ ah! what a beautiful fellowship! C586. A passage of the deepest devotional meaning. Even the humblest man who accepts Faith and does good becomes an accepted member of a great and beautiful company in the Hereafter. It is a company which lives perpetually in the sunshine of Allah's Grace. (This passage partly illustrates 1:5). It is a glorious hierarchy, of which four grades are specified: 1. The highest is that of the Prophets or Apostles, who get plenary inspiration from Allah, and who teach mankind by example and precept. That rank in Islam is held by Muhammad Al-Mustafa. 2. The next are those whose badge is sincerity and truth: they love and support the truth with their person, their means, their influence, and all that is theirs. That rank was held by the special Companions of Muhammad, among whom the type was that of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq. 3. The next are the noble army of Witnesses, who testify to the truth. The testimony may be by martyrdom, Or it may be by the tongue of the true Preacher or the pen of the devoted scholar, or the life of the man devoted to service, 4. Lastly, there is the large company of Righteous people, the ordinary folk who do their ordinary business, but always in a righteous Way. They are the rank and file of the beautiful Fellowship, in which each has his place and yet all feel that they derive glory from the common association." Abdullah Yousaf Ali [7]
  19. ^ The spiritual bounties of God are of four kinds... (Alhakum, dated 31 March 1905, Vol-9, no-11, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908)
  20. ^ The Quran 42:51 "C4598. Allah is Most High, Most Wise: man is, in spite of his high destiny, often the lowest of the low (95:5). Yet Allah, out of His infinite Mercy and Grace, has bestowed His revelation on man. How does it come about? Three ways are mentioned: - Wahyun, Inspiration; - from behind a veil; and - by the sending of a Messenger: see the notes following, Wahyun. Inspiration, is interpreted to be of two kinds: 1. a suggestion thrown by Allah into the heart or mind of man, by which man understands the substance of the Message, whether it is a command or prohibition, or an explanation of a great truth; and 2. verbal or literal inspiration, by which the actual words of Allah are conveyed in human language. (R)." Abdullah Yousaf Ali [8]
  21. ^ The issue has been explained at length by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his book, "Haqiqa-tul-Wahi" (Tatimma) pp: 99-104)
  22. ^ The Quran, English Translation by Maulavi Sher Ali
  23. ^ Sultan ul Quran, by Ansar Raza (Canada) page 37
  24. ^ The Quran, 3:81
  25. ^ The Quran, 33:7
  26. ^ To explain the two verses, Mirza Tahir Ahmad states: "The verse speaks of a covenant Allah had taken from the People of the Book through their Prophets. The covenant bound them to believe in all the messengers coming to fulfil all that had been given to them of His Word and Wisdom and to help them in their mission. The verse also lays down that the people had solemnly agreed to abide by the covenant. Then he said to the people to bear witness to this covenant and that He too would bear witness along with them." The True Meaning of Khatame-Nabbuwat (Finality of Prophethood), page 58 (Concluding address to Annual Convention UK 7 April 1985 Telford UK.)
  27. ^ The Quran 11:17
  28. ^ The Criteria of True Prophet, Ansar Raza (English)
  29. ^
  30. ^ The Quran 61:6
  31. ^ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim
  32. ^ The Quran 62: 3-4
  33. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari chapter Tafseer under Sura Jumma book# 60 hadith# 501
  34. ^ The Quran, 10:16 ". فَقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ عُمُرًا مِّن قَبْلِهِ... A whole lifetime before this have I tarried amongst you: ...أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿١٦﴾ will ye not then understand?" C1404. Muhammad Al-Mustafa had lived his whole life of purity and virtue amongst his people, and they knew and Mustafa acknowledged it before he received his mission. They knew he loved his nation and was loyal to it. Why should they turn against him when he had to point out under inspiration all their sins and wrong-doing? It was for their own good. And he had to plead again and again with them: "Will you not understand, and see what a glorious privilege it is for you to receive true guidance from Allah?" Abdullah Yousaf Ali [9]
  35. ^ The Quran 72:26-27
  36. ^ "And if he had invented and had Muhammad invented (false sayings concerning Us) lies against Us and attributed to Us that which We did not say,(We assuredly had taken him) We assuredly had taken revenge against him (by the right hand) by means of truth and proofs; it is also said this means: We assuredly had vehemently taken him. (And then severed his life artery) the life artery of Muhammad (And not one of you could have held Us off from him) He says: no one of you could have held Us back from Muhammad".The Quran 69:44-48 Tafseer Ibn Abbas
  37. ^ The Quran, 69:43-47 "وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ ﴿٤٤﴾ 44. And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ ﴿٤٥﴾ 45. We should certainly seize him by his right hand, C5669. The right hand is the hand of power and action. Any one who is seized by his right hand is prevented from acting as he wishes or carrying out his purpose. The argument is that if an impostor were to arise, he would soon be found out. He could not carry out his fraud indefinitely. But the prophets of Allah, however much they are persecuted, gain more and more power every day, as did the holy Prophet, whose truth, earnestness, sincerity, and love for all, were recognised as his life unfolded itself. ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ الْوَتِينَ ﴿٤٦﴾ 46. And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: C5670. This would effectually stop the functioning of his life." Abdullah Yousaf Ali, [10]
  38. ^ Deuteronomy (KJV) 18:20.
  39. ^ The Quran, 58:21 "كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ ﴿٢١﴾ 21. Allah has decreed: "It is I and My Messenger who must prevail": For Allah is One full of strength, able to enforce His Will. Abdullah Yousaf Ali [11]
  40. ^ The Quran, 37:171-173